SUPCON’s Ethernet-APL Solution for Speedy and Secure Connectivity

Author photo: Sharada Prahladrao
By Sharada Prahladrao

Keywords: ARC Advisory Group’s 21st India Forum, SUPCON, RAMKY Group, Re Sustainability, Ethernet-APL, Waste-to-Energy, OT/IT, 5T, ARC Advisory Group.


SUPCON participated as a Silver Sponsor at ARC Advisory Group’s 21st India Forum titled Driving Sustainability, Energy Transition, and Performance through Digitalization on July 12th and 13th, 2023. After a three-year hiatus, the in-person Forum was a  Ethernet-APL Solutionrefreshing change and the 300+ delegates networked, shared best practices, and got an overall view of market trends and requirements. In recent years, the theme across all ARC global forums has been the digital transformation journey: where we were, where we are now, and where we are heading. 

SUPCON, as a trusted partner for process industrial companies, is committed to driving innovation and accelerating deliverables to help clients realize their digital transformation objectives. In the Forum session on Advances in Automation: Architectures, Networks, Standards, J. Thakur, Deputy General Manager-Instrumentation, RAMKY Group, explained how SUPCON's Ethernet-APL (Advanced Physical Layer) solution facilitates field networks to make faster and simpler connections between control systems and field instruments in hazardous areas at lower costs. At the end of this session, Jack Li, CEO, SUPCON Singapore joined the panel discussion and spoke about OT/IT/5T integration, advances and applications of APL technology. 

Distilling the knowledge gathered from J. Thakur’s presentation and Jack Li’s viewpoints: 

  • Collaboration among all stakeholders in the value chain is vital in the digital transformation journey.

  • Ethernet-APL creates a common platform and open protocol for all field instruments and devices.

  • For end users, Ethernet-APL provides a high-speed and secure networking solution. 

Turning Waste into Value

J. Thakur began his presentation with a brief overview of the company and its long and valued association with SUPCON. RAMKY  Ethernet-APL SolutionEnviro has been rebranded as Re Sustainability – this rebranding marks a milestone in the company’s transformation from an industry leader in waste management to a company that will accelerate its focus on sustainable solutions. Re stands for “Recycle, Rethink, Reduce, Reuse, Recover, Repurpose, Replenish, and Restore.” Waste covers the gamut from hazardous waste, industrial waste, MSW (Municipal Solid Waste), biomedical, and electronic. MSW is processed and refuse derived fuel (RDF)/compost is generated; and this is incinerated to generate steam that in turn produces power through steam turbines. 

SUPCON has been associated with RAMKY from the first waste-to-energy plant and now the fifth plant is being commissioned. RAMKY uses products of multiple companies, such as Schneider Electric, Siemens, Emerson, and Yokogawa that are all connected to SUPCON’s DCS. Further, J. Thakur spoke about how the SUPCON Ethernet-APL solution addresses the challenges of process industries, its applications and multiple benefits. 

SUPCON’s Ethernet-APL Solution

The largest waste-to-energy plant capacity in India is 24 MW (Delhi and Hyderabad). 4-5 waste-to-energy plants are being planned, out of which two are in the commissioning stage. The fuel that comes to the waste-to-energy plant is heterogeneous and low-calorific, so the processes in the plant need to be adaptable. According to J. Thakur, the basic problem with stored waste is leaching into the pit to a depth of 9 meters. Also, pollution from the chimney to a height of 45 meters needs to be controlled. All the parameters are monitored and kept in check by the pollution control board and other regulatory bodies. Flue gas cleaning systems (FGCS) are used to reduce atmospheric emissions. 

“In the waste to energy sector only 5-7 plants are functioning properly. This is because there is no consolidated data as each plant works differently, because every city’s waste characterization is different,” said J. Thakur. It is necessary to collect and analyze data more effectively and efficiently to prepare for the future. 

Ethernet-APL and What It Offers

Ethernet-APL is a “2-wire, intrinsically safe (IS) Ethernet physical layer designed for process industries.” SUPCON APL-based advanced industrial network solution offers a complete solution from instrument, network, to control system and applications, which can allow full-duplex process data transfer at 10 MBit/s, meanwhile reduce cable cost, and shorten the commissioning time. More importantly, fast and effective data transfer is essential to accelerate digital transformation of the plant. 

 Ethernet-APL Solution

APL Solution Highlights

  • Integration of all signals: Information exchange and device interconnection based on multiple communication protocols; supports multi-type instrument plugins. 

  • CapEx reduction: Around 400,000m cable can be reduced in a 10,000-IO project.

  • Network intelligent diagnosis: Auto-recognize device online/offline status, auto-load drives, and auto-assign addresses; auto-draw system network topology, and visually manage networkdiagnosis on network devices and link quality.

  • Flexible networking: Supports star, bus, loop topologies, and redundant and non-redundant networking.

Jack Li’s Viewpoints

Joining the panel discussion, Jack Li said that this was his first visit to India and to the Silicon Valley, Bengaluru. He was excited  Ethernet-APL Solutionabout meeting industry leaders and experts, and learning about digital transformation at industrial levels. “Digital transformation requires a comprehensive solution to solve critical and complicated problems. This cannot be done by a single party, we need to work together with all the stakeholders, market players, even with our so called ‘competitors’ because every company has its own strengths,” said Jack Li. 

Jack Li expressed that the ARC Forum provides a good networking platform to share ideas, solutions, and discuss the progress being made on the digital transformation journey. SUPCON believes that on this journey collaboration is extremely important. People need to work together to achieve their objectives, utilize strengths from different perspectives/sources and different organizations to create value for customers and end users. 

OT/IT convergence is said to be the key to digital transformation, can you tell us about the convergence and challenges encountered? 

Jack Li: It is not just about OT/IT convergence, SUPCON believes in 5T: Information, Operations, Automation, Process, and Equipment technologies. There has to be a convergence of all these technologies for successful digital transformation. 

Can APL be used for all field devices? And what is next? 

Jack Li:  It can be used for all field instruments and devices. It creates a common platform and supports almost all process automation communication protocols. What is next for APL is to add universality and higher speed to the existing field devices, creating operations data for the control and management systems, which can be used for applications such as intelligent devices management and predictive maintenance. Last year, SUPCON released its new generation Intelligent Operation Management & Control System (i-OMC) that features intelligent autonomous operation. APL network deployment was fully applied and proved successful in the recent i-OMC projects in China and will benefit more clients in future projects.

 Ethernet-APL Solution


At ARC Advisory Group’s 21st India Forum, the informative customer presentation by RAMKY added credibility to SUPCON’s (the supplier) claims. So, when J. Thakur of RAMKY said that, when compared to the conventional DCS network, APL technology facilitates faster data communication and reduces cable costs, it aroused audience interest. For end users, Ethernet-APL provides a secure, high-speed networking solution. Benefits for future projects include simplified project infrastructure, faster commissioning, flexibility, and support for process automation communication protocols. 

SUPCON, with its vision of collaboration for technological growth, is helping companies on their digital transformation journey. From August 1st – 31st the session video will be available here


ARC Advisory Group clients can view the complete report at the ARC Client Portal. 

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